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3 ab latere nostris aperto:as a soldier carries his shield on the left arm, leaving the sword hand free, this (right) side iscalled latus apertum.—Compton.4 manus distinendae causa= for the purpose of diverting(distinendae, lit. hold off) the enemy’s force.6 perterruerunt: this was all the more natural, as the Aeduan contingent was only awaiting the result of the blockade, toopenly join the insurgents.9 excidere= to cut away, hew down, i.e. from within.Gergovia, 4 miles S. of Clermont. This famous stronghold consists of a rectangular plateau nearly a mile in length, andsome 1300 feet above the plain through which the Allier flows, and descending steeply on all sides but one to the ground.Caesar’s failure.‘The fact was that chiefly owing to the nature of the ground and their own ardour, Caesar’s men werenot well in hand.’—W. F.B43THE GALLIC WAR, 58-50 B.C. (7)Siege of Alesia.The Last Fight of Vercingetorix, 52 B.C.Vercingetorix ex arce Alesiae suosconspicatus ex oppido egreditur: crates, longurios, musculos,fasces, reliquaque quae eruptionis causa paraverat profert. Pugnatur uno tempore omnibus locisatque omnia temptantur; quae minime visa pars firma est huc 5concurritur. Romanorum manus tantismunitionibus distinetur nec facile pluribus locis occurrit. . . . Labienus, postquam neque aggeresneque fossae vim hostium sustinere poterant, coactis XI cohortibus, quas ex proximis praesidiisdeductas fors obtulit, 10Caesarem per nuntios facit certiorem quid faciendum existimet. Accelerat Caesar utproelio intersit. Eius adventu ex colore vestituscognito (quo insigni in proeliis uti consuerat),turmisque equitum et cohortibus visis quas se sequi iusserat, ut de locis 15superioribus haec declivia etdevexa cemebantur, hostes proelium committunt. Utrimque clamore sublato excipit rursus exvallo atque omnibus munitionibus clamor. Nostri omissis pilis gladiis rem gerunt. Repente posttergum equitatus cernitur: 20cohortes aliae appropinquant. Hostes terga vertunt; fugientibus equitesoccurrunt: fit magna caedes: pauci ex tanto numero se incolumes in castra recipiunt.CAESAR, de B. G.vii. 84, 87, 88.Context.After his successful defence of Gergovia, Vercingetorix allowed his judgment to be overruled, and attackedCaesar’s army (now united to the division of Labienus) on the march. Caesar shook off the enemy with the help of hisGerman cavalry, and turned their retreat into a rout. V. then threw himself with all his forces into Alesia. Caesar constructedan inner line of investment and an outer line of defence, and was thus able to wear out the besieged and beat back therelieving host of the Gauls.1 suos, i.e. the host (some 250,000) of the relieving army of Gauls.2 musculos(dimin. of mus) = pent-housesor sheds.4 omnibus locis, i.e. along the whole length of Caesar’s outer line of defence, where it ran along the slope of Mont Réa,to the N.W. of Alesia. This, as the relieving Gauls were quick to see, was the weakest point of the whole line.
13 ex colore vestitus, i.e. the purple or scarlet paludamentum.